A new VARD team for turbulent times


Dear readers of the GermanBoardNews,

today I would like to express my sincere thanks to four long-standing comrades-in-arms: Dietmar Kuhnt, Stephan Kufferath, Wilhelm Haarmann and Carl-Dieter Wuppermann have shaped the Association of Supervisory Boards in Germany (VARD) with their commitment, expertise and humanity. Their commitment to the professionalisation of our profession and responsible corporate governance deserves the highest recognition!

At the same time, I am pleased that we have been able to recruit new, high-calibre Supervisory Board members for the Presiding Committee and Executive Board following their departure (see our “Supervisory Board of the Week” section, where we are taking an exceptional look at our own ranks today).

VARD thus remains excellently positioned – and that’s good, because we are experiencing exciting times: Following the Wirecard scandal, we have a great opportunity to fundamentally improve the corporate governance system in Germany. After all, the stock exchange wants to include governance standards in its Dax rules and regulations.

Control is good, cultural change is better

We have already made concrete proposals for this in our #FutureGoodGovernance Agenda, and others are now on the table. However, they are often aimed at improving control structures. For example, corporate governance experts are calling for mandatory compliance management systems and direct reports from internal auditing to the Supervisory Board.

This is certainly worthy of discussion, but I see the danger that one important aspect will be neglected: personnel governance. In order to drive forward cultural change, we must also make the people involved more aware of their duties and responsibilities. Corporate governance only works with personal governance.

We have therefore proposed a kind of Hippocratic oath in the #FGG agenda, as VARD members have long since taken it through their commitment to our professional principles. We at VARD therefore know: a personal governance code is anything but a paper tiger; discussions about principles and their interpretation raise awareness and strengthen professional ethics.

Deutsche Börse should therefore demand such recognition from all Dax Supervisory Boards. But you don’t have to wait for that, dear readers: you can already commit to values and principles by becoming a VARD member. My fellow campaigners and I would be delighted!


With best wishes,

Yours, Peter H. Dehnen (Publisher)